Aztec C (was: more eBay stuff)

Dave Dunfield dave06a at
Fri Jun 1 06:22:00 CDT 2007

> > N = 1;
> > A[N++] = N++;
> I'd expect that to evaluate to a[1]=2 and n winds up being 3. But I'm weird.

This simple code snippet invokes "undefined behaviour" because:

 'N' is modified twice within a single sequence block.
 'N' is referenced within a sequence block separately from a modification
     occuring within the same sequence block.

One might expect:

 N = 1
 Save address of A[1]
 (address of A[1]) = 2

Which gives you the result you expected, however a compiler is free to
perform the side effects occuring within a sequence block at any time it
wishes, as long as it observes the charactistics of the operator causing
the side effect. (ie: one instance of N++ cannot increment N before
retrieving it's value, although the other instance of N++ could have
incremented it).

  N = 1
  A[1] = 1
  N += 2
A[1] = 1, N = 3

  N = 1;
  ++N (the second one)
  A[2] = 1 (saved from above ++N)
  ++N (the first one)
A[2] = 1, N = 3

  N = 1
  Set temp to replace N to N+1
  A[1] = 1
  Set temp to replace N to N+1
  N = temp to replace N
A[1] = 1, N = 2

You get the idea - run the above sequence without violating
the terms I mentioned at the beginning (ie: use separate
variables) and the same answer occurs in all cases.

Btw, technically, according to the standard, the compiler is
free to say:
  N = 1
  Humm... undefined behaviour...
  A[500] = 9999
  N = -1
Although I've never seen an implementation which actually
does this - usually you can fine some logical reason for the


dave06a (at)    Dave Dunfield
dunfield (dot)  Firmware development services & tools:
com             Collector of vintage computing equipment:

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